It's an (old) man's world

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

Diverse as peas in a pod. That is unfortunately my conclusion following our recent Eureka readership survey. Firstly, the well-publicised lack of gender diversity in the engineering sector is backed up by our results, as only 2.5% of our respondents were female.

A further finding is that nearly 80% of respondents are older than 45 years old. It is another side of the same problem. A generation of engineers appears to be maturing without the next generation, or either gender, coming through. Incidentally, having taken several healthy steps myself into the plus 45 age bracket I do not regard that as 'old'!

Initiatives, such as that being run by the Engineering Development Trust (see page 13 of this issue), or the Primary Engineer scheme which we will look at in June, are both great conduits through which the engineering industry can help itself by building the next generation of engineers. If we fail to do so in the UK it will be to the detriment of the UK economy, as other countries will endeavour to have a younger, bigger engineering sector.

As a point of interest a survey of this size statistically allows us to be 95% certain that any answer is within +5% or -5% of being correct.

More positively, when asked what the most exciting technologies are that will push industry forward. 3D printing was the clear winner here but there was a host of others including new control functions, clever electronics and particularly new engineering materials. Interestingly only one person named the much lauded Internet of Things in this category, the same number of people who chose, for example, UAVs. Does that mean that the IoT is so vague in its definition and such a composite of enabling technologies that people don't recognise it as an entity in its own right? Or does it mean that the IoT is essentially marketing bluff and bluster? I will leave you to decide but maybe it is a bit of both.

Very many thanks to all of our readers who did take part in our survey.


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